Revised designs still ADA-compliant
By Don Nelson
The “bulbs” are gone from revised designs for pedestrian ramps at each corner of the four-way stop in downtown Winthrop, after town officials asked the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to reconsider its original plans.
At last week’s Winthrop Town Council meeting, council members informally supported two alternative designs that meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility standards but take up less space than WSDOT’s earlier design.
WSDOT revisited the designs after downtown business owners expressed concern that the planned ramps included “bulb-outs” that would extend too far into the roadway and possibly endanger pedestrians rather than assist them.
The proposed new ramps at the intersection of Riverside Avenue and Bridge Street are part of a project that will pave State Highway 20 through Winthrop next spring. Federal law requires that WSDOT upgrade the existing sidewalk curb ramps to meet ADA standards as part of the $1.3 million paving project.
Council members briefly reviewed several options offered by WSDOT, and picked two that will be further reviewed by Public Works Director Rick Karro to make sure they can be adequately plowed during the winter.
WSDOT hopes to complete the entire paving project before the annual ’49er Days celebration.
In other council business:
• Anne Acheson was officially sworn in as mayor. Acheson, who was elected to the Town Council last November, replaces Sue Langdalen, who resigned because she is moving out of the community. Council member Gaile Bryant-Cannon was named mayor pro tem, to preside over council meetings in Acheson’s absence.
• Appointment of a new council member to replace Acheson was postponed two weeks because one of the applicants, Robert DeHart, was not at the meeting. DeHart is retired from a career at The Boeing Co. The other applicant is Ben Nelson, co-owner of Riverside Printing.
• A final sales agreement with Everything Ice, contractor for the new ice-making system at the Winthrop Ice & Sports Rink (WISR), was approved with some minor adjustments that resulted in a few thousand dollars in savings. The ice-making equipment was scheduled to begin operating last winter, but construction delays and disputes between the town and contractor made that impossible.
• The council postponed for two weeks consideration of a proposed revision of the town’s Westernization code. Ron McCollum, a member of the volunteer group that came up with proposed revisions after more than a year of work, told the council that concerns raised at two public meetings have been addressed. “It’s a workable new ordinance,” he said. Acheson said the council is “a few steps from moving forward … I think we’re close.”
• Acheson said she would meet with Marshal Hal Henning to work out an agreement about the conditions under which officers can take their police vehicles home between shifts.
• The council agreed to once again hold a recognition event for local volunteers who have made significant contributions during the past year. Some of the events, which included a buffet dinner, have been sparsely attended in the past. A less-elaborate event will be planned this year, Acheson said. “I think it’s worth the expense to acknowledge people,” council member Rick Northcott said.